Before it all came crashing down, Archi Duenas’ gun-stealing scheme was relatively simple, county prosecutors wrote in a memo. He just couldn’t go on vacation.

    Duenas, manager of the gun store at the Los Angeles Police Academy, had been reprimanded over the years for tardiness and sloppy record keeping, but he never took time off, according to the memo. As the store’s closing supervisor, he was there each night to lock up — and hand count the inventory.

    If someone else had been assigned that count, they might have discovered that dozens of guns were missing and that Duenas was stealing them and selling them for cash, prosecutors wrote in the memo. But since he was always there, the Los Angeles Police Revolver and Athletic Club was apparently none the wiser.

    This went on for years, prosecutors wrote, facilitated by a lack of oversight and safety protocols that are considered standard in other gun stores.

    Then, in February 2020, Duenas’ bosses told him he had accrued the “maximum allowable leave hours” and had to take time off, prosecutors wrote in the memo. When he did, another manager finally made the startling discovery: Boxes meant to have guns in them were actually empty.

    Lol. Also:

    Duenas, who initially faced 25 criminal counts and more than a dozen years in prison, instead received probation in August after pleading no contest to felony grand theft of a firearm and a single misdemeanor count of illegally transferring a firearm.


    there’s a reason why leave is often enforced: it’s a major sign of fraud.

    Dear inconsiderate abled people,

    I have to wheel my dad in and out of dialysis.

    When we arrived, the parking spot closest to the wheelchair crosswalk looked like this.

    Me, a disabled person, had to walk these carts to the receptacle so we could park properly.

    But the fun didn't stop there!

    Let's take a look at the wheelchair crosswalk.

    This is the ONLY place you can access the dialysis establishment with a wheelchair. This person decided to leave their car parked there for 15 minutes while they got their Chinese food.

    I had to slowly back my dad's wheelchair down the curb in order to get him back to the car. I would prefer to not employ less-than-safe wheelchair maneuvers with my disabled elderly father.

    So I ask anyone who doesn't fear a little confrontation, if you see people doing these kinds of things, please say something.

    And if you know someone who does these kinds of things, maybe send them this post and show them the unseen consequences of their actions.

    Thanks a bunch, Froggie

    Stephen Sondheim, one of Broadway history’s songwriting titans, whose music and lyrics raised and reset the artistic standard for the American stage musical, died early Friday at his home in Roxbury, Conn. He was 91.

    His lawyer and friend, F. Richard Pappas, announced the death, which he described as sudden. The day before, Mr. Sondheim had celebrated Thanksgiving with a dinner with friends in Roxbury, Mr. Pappas said.

    An intellectually rigorous artist who perpetually sought new creative paths, Mr. Sondheim was the theater’s most revered and influential composer-lyricist of the last half of the 20th century, if not its most popular.

    His work melded words and music in a way that enhanced them both. From his earliest successes in the late 1950s, when he wrote the lyrics for “West Side Story” and “Gypsy,” through the 1990s, when he wrote the music and lyrics for two audacious musicals, “Assassins,” giving voice to the men and women who killed or tried to kill American presidents, and “Passion,” an operatic probe into the nature of true love, he was a relentlessly innovative theatrical force.

    The first Broadway show for which Mr. Sondheim wrote both the words and music, the farcical 1962 comedy “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” won a Tony Award for best musical and went on to run for more than two years.

    In the 1970s and 1980s, his most productive period, he turned out a series of strikingly original and varied works, including “Company” (1970), “Follies” (1971), “A Little Night Music” (1973), “Pacific Overtures” (1976), “Sweeney Todd” (1979), “Merrily We Roll Along” (1981), “Sunday in the Park With George” (1984) and “Into the Woods” (1987).

    In the history of the theater, only a handful could call Mr. Sondheim peer. The list of major theater composers who wrote words to accompany their own scores (and vice versa) is a short one — it includes Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Frank Loesser, Jerry Herman and Noël Coward.

    Though Mr. Sondheim spent long hours in solitary labor, usually late at night, when he was composing or writing, he often spoke lovingly of the collaborative nature of the theater. After the first decade of his career, he was never again a writer for hire, and his contribution to a show was always integral to its conception and execution. He chose collaborators — notably the producer and director Hal Prince, the orchestrator Jonathan Tunick and later the writer and director James Lapine — who shared his ambition to stretch the musical form beyond the bounds of only entertainment.

    Mr. Sondheim’s music was always recognizable as his own, and yet he was dazzlingly versatile. His melodies could be deceptively, disarmingly simple — like the title song of the unsuccessful 1964 musical “Anyone Can Whistle,” “Our Time,” from “Merrily,” and the most famous of his individual songs, “Send In the Clowns,” from “Night Music” — or jaunty and whimsical, like “Everybody Ought to Have a Maid,” from “Forum.”

    They could also be brassy and bitter, like “The Ladies Who Lunch,” from “Company,” or sweeping, like the grandly macabre waltz “A Little Priest,” from “Sweeney Todd.” And they could be exotic, like “Someone in a Tree” and “Pretty Lady,” both from “Pacific Overtures,” or desperately yearning, like the plaintive “I Read,” from “Passion.”


    NASA's Lunar Orbiter pics from 1967/8 were deliberately fuzzed and downsampled to hide US spying capabilities

    In 1967, the Lunar Orbiter missions sent back exciting – but grainy and low-rez – photos of the moon’s surface.

    But it turns out that the Orbiters’ photos were actually super-high-rez, shot on 70mm film and robotically developed inside the orbiters, with the negs raster-scanned at 200 lines/mm and transmitted to ground stations using an undisclosed lossless analog image-compression technology. These were stored on tapes read by fridge-sized $300,000 Ampex FR-900 drives. These images were printed out at 40’ x 54’ so the Apollo astronauts could stroll over them and look for a landing spot.

    But these images were not revealed to the public because NASA feared that doing so would also reveal the US’s spy satellite capabilities. Instead, NASA deliberately downrezzed and fuzzed the images that the public got to see.

    Ryan Smith tells the amazing story of the preservationists who rescued the images off of disintegrating FR-900 magnetic tapes starting in 2007, under JPL’s Nancy Evans, who set up her team in an abandoned McDonald’s building and dubbed the project “McMoon.”

    The McMoon team refurbished salvaged FR-900 drives, homebrewed a digitizer system, and painstaking recovered the 2GB/image files that the system generated. Evans’s team has recovered 2,000 images from 1,500 tapes, all in the public domain and available for download on Moonviews.com.



    2GB images in 1967, jesus christ

    ““I have watched copulating couples moving along darkened freeways at night, men and women on the verge of orgasm, their cars speeding in a series of inviting trajectories towards the flashing headlamps of the oncoming traffic stream. Young men alone behind the wheels of their first cars, near-wrecks picked up in scrap-yards, masturbate as they move on worn tyres to aimless destinations. After a near collision at a traffic intersection semen jolts across a cracked speedometer dial. Later, the dried residues of that same semen are brushed by the lacquered hair of the first young woman who lies across his lap with her mouth over his penis, one hand on the wheel hurtling the car through the darkness towards a multi-level interchange, the swerving brakes drawing the semen from him as he grazes the tailgate of an articulated truck loaded with colour television sets, his left hand vibrating her clitoris towards orgasm as the headlamps of the truck flare warningly in his rear-view mirror. Later still, he watches as a friend takes a teenage girl in the rear seat. Greasy mechanic’s hands expose her buttocks to the advertisement hoardings that hurl past them. The wet highways flash by in the glare of headlamps and the scream of brake-pads. The shaft of his penis glistens above the girl as he strikes at the frayed plastic roof of the car, marking the yellow fabric with his smegma.””

    — from Crash by J.G. Ballard

    The Pentagon’s Money Tree

    Congress is turning its attention to the National Defense Authorization Act this week, the massive budget legislation that funds the Department of Defense. Despite the end of the 20-year war in Afghanistan, Congress is angling to boost the Pentagon budget by over $20 billion dollars. The 2022 budget is projected to be $768 billion, another $23.9 billion over this year’s budget. As a point of comparison, we could replace every lead pipe in America for $45 billion, end homelessness for all 580,466 people in the United States for $20 billion. Power every one of the 127.59 million households in the United States with clean wind and solar energy for $80 billion, and provide 12 weeks of paid family leave for new parents or people caring for a sick parent for $58.2 billion  And we would still have $564.8 billion left over for the Pentagon — more than double what any other country in the world spends on “defense.”

    Read Mor